Eva’s lessons on school

We caught up with Eva, age 14, to hear about life at her mainstream school. Eva has a visual impairment so some of her lessons and playground experiences are a little different. 

Hi, I’m Eva. Right now, I’m at school studying for my GCSEs. With my visual impairment, I can’t see things that are over two metres away in detail. So, the way I do my lessons is a bit different from the other people in my class. 

I have a really good teacher for Computer Science – she’s passionate and very helpful. In our coding lessons, for example, she’s always looking for ways to make the class activities more accessible to me. This is one of my favourite subjects at the moment. 

Lessons that aren’t taught on computers can be trickier. I can’t see the whiteboard from my seat, even if I’m sitting right at the front. For me to take part, my teaching assistant will take a picture of the board and send it to me over email. Then I can look at the board from my iPad. If it’s an interactive whiteboard I can just have it up on my screen. 

In this way, my school’s pretty good at making things accessible. I get enlarged handouts too and have extra equipment in the classroom. But some days it’s still a bit stressful. 

Not everyone understands 

Another thing that makes a big difference to my day is seating plans. If there are changes it can be stressful. When I’m sat with students who don’t know me well, then they won’t always understand my visual impairment. Sometimes people make comments about the extra equipment I use in class, like my iPad or Apple pencil. 

There aren’t many kids at my school with disabilities. There have been a few others with visual impairments, but they are in different year groups or different parts of the school.  

If there were more kids with disabilities, then I think the other children would be more used to seeing it every day. When it’s just me, some people start to see me as ‘the girl with the visual impairment’, not a person. 

Finding friendships

I sometimes feel like if there were more people like me, I could make friends with them. But even if there aren’t, I know that it’s important not to hide my disability. That would be my advice to anyone navigating school – be yourself and don’t try to hide your disability. 

Another important lesson is that there are kind people out there. You’ll find them and soon have friends. It’s not worth bothering about anyone who isn’t nice – you wouldn’t want to be friends with them anyway!